Port of Rotterdam spearheads green hydrogen complex

The Port of Rotterdam Authority is working with various partners towards the introduction of a large-scale hydrogen network across the Port complex, making Rotterdam an international hub for hydrogen production, import, application, and transport to other countries in Northwest Europe.

In an interview with AJOT, Randolf Weterings, Program Manager for Electrification and Hydrogen, Port of Rotterdam explained the Port’s vision for developing green hydrogen: “We started with industrial use in the Port. If you … look to … the vehicles, to the buses or the trucks … then you can already start with smaller quantities. But in order to get the, the price down, you want to scale up the technology. So, we saw that if you build … to the thousand megawatts, then you have a couple of advantages. One is you have the volumes that the industry needs. Secondly is that you can convert part of the waste streams like heat into valuable streams. … With 200 megawatts, … you have 25%, so 50 megawatts still significant, but it's not significant enough to build pipelines. But if you could focus on thousand megawatts and you then can capture 25%, you have 250 megawatts of waste heat, and then it makes more sense to integrate it and to make it … a part of system integration.”

Randolf Weterings, Program Manager for Electrification and Hydrogen, Port of Rotterdam

The hub system envisaged by the Port will also enable Rotterdam to maintain its position as an important energy Port for Northwest Europe.

The Port says the role of hydrogen is growing. In addition to replacing natural gas to generate heat in the process industry, hydrogen is becoming a building block in sustainable chemistry to make products. Furthermore, hydrogen is developing into an important energy carrier in aviation and shipping, for heavy road transport and for heat supply in households and greenhouses.

The Port says the advantages of establishing a hydrogen hub in Rotterdam are many: “Large-scale use of hydrogen in industry can considerably reduce carbon emissions. A hydrogen network will also enable the Port to continue to play a leading role internationally, as well as remain the motor of the national economy.”

Conversion Parks

In April 2022, the Port of Rotterdam announced that “Shell is the first company to sign an agreement to use … the hydrogen pipeline in the Port of Rotterdam that Gasunie is laying in collaboration with the Port of Rotterdam Authority from the Maasvlakte to Pernis in order to make the industry in the Port more sustainable.”

The release went on to say: “Shell becomes the pipeline’s first customer. …The hydrogen pipeline will be in use at the end of 2024, early 2025. In time, the pipeline will be connected to the national and international hydrogen network.

A spokeswoman for the Port of Rotterdam said that two green hydrogen conversion parks are currently planned: Conversion Park 1 is allocated for four electrolyzers: “one is being built right now.” The projection is the Park will generate 2.5 GW by 2030. Conversion Park 2 is allocated “for the Party that wins the tender for Windpark IJmuiden-Ver with a capacity up to 1,000 MW (1 GW). “

The green hydrogen projects can be seen below:

The Port says the first Conversion Park encompasses 25 hectares.

Aside from Shell’s projected 200 MW of capacity, other electrolyzer companies that will be building new facilities at the Port of Rotterdam conversion site are Air Liquide with 200 MW of capacity and H2-Fifty with 250 MW of capacity.

The Port says the rest of the area will be occupied by an electricity substation, residual heat station, and a DC-AC conversion station operated by TenneT, the high voltage national network operator.

TenneT is a leading European electricity transmission system operator (TSO) with its main activities in the Netherlands and Germany. With over 23,900 kilometers of high-voltage connections. It provides a supply of electricity to 42 million end-users.

Residual heat is a by-product of electrolysis and an additional energy source. A Port spokesman said that “We reserved an area for residual heat because with electrolysis you lose about 25% of the energy. You cannot transform all the energy from electricity into hydrogen. You lose about 25% of it in cooling water, which still is high enough to heat green houses or houses.”

Wind Farms Support Green Hydrogen Hub in Rotterdam

A hydrogen network will also enable the Port to continue to play a leading role internationally. Green hydrogen is generated by electrolysis that comes from nearby offshore wind farms that can be seen here:

The nearby windfarms located in the North Sea will connect to the hydrogen conversion parks to support the electrolysis that creates renewable energy-based hydrogen.

Weterings said that the Port of Rotterdam cannot provide all the hydrogen fuel that Europe needs and so other Ports also need to contribute:

“All the ports have a hydrogen strategy because Europe wants to have more hydrogen import and it cannot only come from the Port of Rotterdam. ... So, it's very good that other Ports will also develop a hydrogen strategy. And it cannot come from one country because it's quite a lot of energy that you need… It's ... better to have multiple locations where you can get the energy … from the sun and wind.”

Other European ports that are developing hydrogen facilities include the ports of Valencia and Antwerp.

Stas Margaronis
Stas Margaronis


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